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Once part of Woodbury, Bethlehem was settled in the early 18th century and incorporated in 1787. God-fearing Puritan settlers named more than 30 Connecticut places after the devil, and Bethlehem is no exception: east of town is a ridge known as the Devil's Backbone.
The Bethlehem Fair, at the Bethlehem Fairgrounds off SR 61, is held the Fri.-Sun. following Labor Day and offers stage shows, competitions and demonstrations, dancing and live music; phone (203) 266-5350.
Bethlehem's town green and its surrounding buildings are decorated with lights during the Christmas Town Festival, held the first Fri.-Sat. of December. Attendees may listen to holiday storytelling, craft ornaments and observe a candlelight procession; phone (203) 266-7510, ext. 300 for event schedule. Throughout the month, thousands of visitors arrive to mail their Christmas cards with a Bethlehem postmark.
The 400-acre Abbey of Regina Laudis , 273 Flanders Rd., is home to a community of Benedictine nuns. On permanent display is an 18th-century Neapolitan crèche, an elaborate nativity scene containing 68 hand-carved figures. On-site, The Gary-The Olivia Performing Arts Center hosts a music festival in June and offers performances late July-early Aug. Phone (203) 266-7637 for the abbey, or (203) 273-5669 for the performing arts center.
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Current Location: Bethlehem, Connecticut